Decorating from Scratch, or nearly Scratch

Let’s say you have a blank slate; you just added on a family room to your home, you’ve moved from a traditional home to a modern Condo, or you just bought your first home.  

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Maybe you have inherited a few furniture pieces or want to bring a few things with you from your last place.

How do you make your new space perfect?

Here are a few basics:

Start by photographing and labeling images of things you want to keep; everything from accessories to entire rooms will help you define what you would love to live with.  

When we work with a new client we create what we call a “Style Book.”  After seeing their new space in person or in floor plans, we make a book of tear sheets that hopefully represent every possible style that would work well in the home. We include images of anything that the client wants to keep. We go over it together.  This step is a real time-saver to help rule out any real “no no’s” and to establish a direction.

    Photo: Elle Decor                              Photo: Architectural Digest 

   Photo: Elle Decor                              Photo: Architectural Digest 

Keep in mind that consistency is important in home style, so if it is a new addition to your home, you’ll need to take off from the already established style and color scheme.

Next establish a furniture floor plan.  If you don’t have the budget to have a designer help with the design of the entire room, it might be smart to at least have them complete this step.  If you want to measure your room yourself and take tons of photos of the space, most designers would be happy to work with that.  Having a floor plan that works for you and provides furniture sizing allows you to do your own shopping with far fewer errors.

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Develop a color scheme that has contrast. Any color palate will fall short without the benefit of black and white added to the scheme.  An easy way to take it from there would be to find a fabric, a piece of furniture, or an accessory that you like and develop the rest of the scheme around that.  Alternatively, you can use one of the images that had a scheme you admired as your inspiration.


Add texture: a plush, like velvet or a handsome flat weave; and shine, such as a glass tabletop. All are great possibilities.  Other options are a rug with tons of texture or window treatments with a touch of shine; either will make a room far more interesting.

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Lighting can make or break a room.  We always make sure seating has a reading lamp nearby (and a place to set a beverage). But don’t stop there. You should vary your sources.  You’ll want general room lighting like a center fixture or recessed can lighting, lamp lighting, and accessory or spot lighting.  Floor lamps can be a great-added touch.  

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Make sure you add accessories to your space for more interest and texture.  Even if you are going for a minimalist look, a plant, a stack of coffee table books, etc., make a room more interesting and personal.  



The foot of the bed and the furniture pieces we often situate there are part of a long tradition in bedroom design.  Pieces like storage trunks or benches have long served practical purposes and, in many cases, still do for that space. But it is certainly not necessary to restrict oneself to preconceived notions of what to place there particularly if traditional solutions don’t fit the size of a room or the way you use your space.

A storage trunk is a traditional choice that offers a perfect place for bed linens and can add character, perhaps be part of a family’s history.

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A bench has long been the frequent go-to piece for the foot of the bed as it provides an occasional and convenient place to sit and is a great place to toss off the quilt when it gets too warm.


But, think outside the box.  It certainly doesn’t have to be the expected. The single bench could easily be replaced with two small ottomans, two chairs or a loveseat.

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For a large space, place a sofa there to act as a seque to an adjacent sitting area.


In contrast, in a small home or Master Bedroom the challenge may be how to fit everything you need. Creative solutions can look fresh and solve the dilemma!

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A low bookcase is also an efficient choice -


The foot of the bed can also be a great place for a long, low dresser,

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Or a dog bed, so Blackie has his own place to sleep!

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	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
    Photo: Elle Decor

Photo: Elle Decor

And, if you are serious about your television watching…


The list goes on. So, if the traditional options don’t serve your space, fear not.  It can often be the need for an alternate solution that sparks the creation of fresh and fabulous ideas!



Okay you’ve selected the paint color. Now for the sheen.

Here’s what we do, in general:

We love a flat or matte sheen on walls and ceilings.  There was a time, however, when this wasn’t always the smartest choice.  The argument was it wasn’t easy to clean.  It wasn’t wipeable.  So we would up the sheen for kids rooms, family rooms, and hallways. That has changed now that major paint manufacturers have developed wipeable flat sheens. Besides the soft look of the finish, flat paint does a better job of hiding little imperfections and it can more easily be touched up without leaving brush marks.

We go with eggshell for Kitchen and Bathroom walls and ceilings. Eggshell is more wipeable than flat and absorbs less moisture.

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If your Kitchen is open to a living area then the washable flat paints are perfect. They cost a bit more, as a matter of fact sometimes twice as much, but it could be well worth it.

Generally speaking we go with eggshell for trim in more casual homes. 

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For more formal or larger homes, we’ll go with satin or semi gloss for trim.

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If you are looking for something more dramatic semi-gloss or even gloss can be stunning on walls and/or ceilings. But, be aware your walls need to be in perfect condition and the paint needs to be applied perfectly. Paints with higher sheen levels show everything. 


Shinier paints reflect light, which creates an amazing affect and a major wow factor. We once did a Powder Room in a black gloss. For dinner parties the clients would light candles and use the dimmers on the lights. Gorgeous.

Barbara Hyde Evans
Hyde Evans Design


I was years into my career as an Interior Designer before I could really grasp how to make a mix of furniture styles come together to make a fabulous room.   

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Beautiful spaces with a blend of styles may appear unconsidered but realistically most are well thought out.  Bottom line, you can’t just throw pieces together haphazardly and expect it to work.  It takes careful and deliberate use of juxtaposition and contrast.  


Mixing styles demands that you carefully follow proven rules for designing a space, even more so then when you are doing a room in say a Traditional English or Northwest Contemporary fashion.

Color, contrast, texture, scale all need to be in careful balance. This is not for the faint of heart, but if you love the idea, let me give you some easy ways to capture the look.

Do a beautiful mix of Contemporary furniture in the room then add just one, or maybe two, antiques. The contrast between the two styles will be stunning.


Alternatively, design your room completely in traditional furnishings then cover the walls with contemporary art.


If you follow these tips and your space still doesn’t feel right, consider hiring a professional who has a reputation for doing it well. It will save you from expensive mistakes.

Barbara Hyde Evans
Hyde Evans Design


Every fabric line, every rug manufacturer, every paint company, etc. declares their color of the year. As an interior design firm we have the opportunity to view all the latest in fabrics, wallpapers, tiles, carpeting, and every other surface for the home. So we made up the ultimate list. Here it is:


Virtually every major paint company has declared some shade of black as their color of the year. They are a blue/black shade, a purple/black shade and, of course, a charcoal. Not totally new, as we saw plenty of the trend last year especially in wall color and cabinetry. And every good designer will tell you that every room, even an all white one should have black in it, even if it is just a touch. Black adds contrast and drama. Add black to all lavender room and suddenly it’s sophisticated.



It too was big last year but in 2018 it comes on even stronger. Emerald is awesome. Green marble makes a breathtaking statement. And green and black together, killer!

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Declared the Pantone color of the year, violet is making its way into every fabric line. And, yes, it is daring but makes a stand out wall color.



Let’s face it, jewel tones are back, and red is an important one. It warms up any room as a wall color, a piece of furniture, or just a lamp base or pillow.


So go vibrant, go colorful, make a statement in 2018!

Tis the Season In Seattle

Holiday shopping is in full swing! This month’s blog is dedicated to helping you find that unique gift for the home. Here is a list of Seattle boutiques that offer vintage items, accent pieces, artwork, and objets trouvés that add interest, depth and character to a space. Happy Shopping!

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Fancy on Second Avenue in Belltown for unique tables and lighting


Capitol Hill

Totokaelo in Capitol Hill for pillows, throws and objets trouvés

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Butter Home on Melrose Ave. is a loft like space with a country feel filled with items such as wire storage baskets, wall art, and lighting.

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Retrofit Home on East Pike Street has a mid-century vibe with furniture and more.


Watson Kennedy, near Pike Place Market and also on 1st & Spring, is filled with fine accessories and features affordable art prints by Hugo Guinness


Susan Wheeler Home on Airport Way South is packed with pillows, French antiques, and mirrors.

Kirk Albert on Airport Way South for vintage objects and quirky finds

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Madison Park

Marine Area 7 in Madison Park for vintage items for the Kitchen - They have a terrific Instagram feed @marinearea7, so you can check out them out before you make the drive.

Pioneer Square

Flora and Henri in Pioneer Square for books, bedding, porcelain, artisan ceramics and much more…



Big Daddy’s on First Avenue South for eclectic, one of kind pieces and antiques

Upper Queen Anne

Stuhlberg’s on Queen Anne Ave. N for more traditional items, including baskets, pewter and silver frames.


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Many of these boutiques are in neighborhoods surrounded by other shopping and fun dining options, so you can immerse yourself in the spirit of the season.  

Best wishes for a Festive Holiday Season!

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